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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

EXISTENTIALISM  AND   SURREALISM               459

joy and hope of happiness; there is a final refuge for Karl in the
legendary nature theatre of Oklahoma, in which all waifs and
strays and workless people find peace and occupation. But it must
be noted that Amerika was begun first of the three novels (the
first chapter, as pointed out, is Der Heifer) and Max Brod records
that Kafka spoke of a tragic ending that he was planning.

Hocb^eitsvorbereitungen aufdem Lande undandere Prosa aus dem Nach-
lass (1953), with notes by Max Brod, contains valuable autobio-
graphical material; the long Brief an den Vater is at the same time
an important document in the son-father conflict of expressionism.

From what has been said it will be clear that in Kafka's work
the leading motifs of fear (Angst\ isolation, frustration, the sense
of being cast out (das Ausgestossensein), the feeling of being guilty
somehow or other without knowing why, the premonition that
judgment must be spoken, negative the doctrine of salvation by
belief in God - Kafka's God is inscrutable. But "God" is not a
word used by Kafka; neither is Jehovah, but Jehovah, the old
divinity of the Jews, who brings men to judgment and vengefully
condemns them, comes to life anew as the Power behind these
tales. In Kafka's fiction, however, as in the Hebrew scriptures He
judges and casts out those who have cast themselves out. This is
the Law, against which there is no appeal. Moreover the Law is
indifferent to what we suffer in seeking it. It is no use praying;
prayers are not heard. For the Divine ordinance acts immutably
whatever we do; all we can hope to do is to act in accordance
with the Divine ordinance. We must save ourselves. The door is
open. The radiance beyond the door to the Law is reality, the
only reality, the world of the spirit. We read: 'Die Tatsacbe, dass es
nur erne geistige Welt gib t> beraubt uns der Hoffnung und - gibt uns Ge-
wissheit? And again: 'Usgibt nicbts anderes als einegeistige Welt; was
wir eine sinnliche Welt nennen, ist nur eine Notmndigkeit ernes Augen-
blicks unserer emgen EntwicklungS What we need is humility and
work for work's sake, not for reward. We can live a full life if we
are innocent and humble, and if we do not question the inscrutable
and possibly in appearance foolish ordering (but foolish only be-
cause we apply 'reason' to things that are divine) of whatsoever
Power controls us. Reason is the foe of faith. Not reason but faith
gives sense to life, and this faith we must seek as Parzival sought
the Grail. Faith alone gives us power to endure the disharmony
between the physical and the spiritual world. Finally: 'Wer sucbt,